I’ve read a lot of articles about aging. Some of these articles have told me the Baby Boomer generation does not like the terms older, senior, Baby Boomer, Boomer and sandwich generation. Maybe that’s true, but I think it depends on who is doing the poll and who is answering their questions. To me, that kind of dislike comes from fear.
I’m a Boomer. The term “Baby Boomer” was coined years ago and it stuck. I like it shortened to Boomer. Other generations have monikers they may or may not like: Gen X, Gen Y, Greatest, Silent, blah-blah-blah. I’m not bringing this up because of BoomerReviews.com. This topic just caused me to come up with a lot of questions.
So what if we are over 50, “leak” a little, take the blue or orange pills and sit in bath tubs in the wide open (Cialis TV commercial?), have hot flashes, dye our hair (for those who have hair), talk with friends about aches and pains, get a little nostalgic from time to time? Who really cares? Our kids? Our neighbors? Our shrinks? Time Magazine?
I’m a crusty old guy who is simply comfortable with myself. I doubt our generation will change to the “crusty old generation”, but what if we did? We broke a lot of molds when we were in our teens, 20’s, 30’s, even 40’s. Today’s younger generations would do well to acknowledge that now instead of later.
In our youth, we Early and Late Boomers questioned what was going on in the world around us – women’s rights, war, civil rights, disease, information sharing, diversity, politics – and we thought about how our huge generation might change our world for the better as we aged. Our generation then proceeded to improve the world in many ways. We advanced technology, medicine, wellness, human rights and much more. Many of us are still running marathons, dancing, biking, going to outdoor concerts, having sex, riding motorcycles, driving cool cars, working full-time, playing in Vegas, traveling around the world, volunteering for causes we support, and enjoying life. We’re spending time with our kids, grandkids and parents. If some of us don’t want to be old enough for that watershed moment – becoming an AARP member – that’s fine. I have friends who are now acting as if they are in their 30’s or 40’s and frankly, that’s okay with me.
Yes, our generation has made some mistakes, not the least of which is an inability to figure out what we’ll do when we run out of money to support us in really old age. Like it or not, we are the generation that wanted to live for today and when the economy went down the tubes in 2008, “today” got pretty painful for us and for our younger generations coming into the workplace. We had to take responsibility. In the big picture of the Boomer lifespan, history will look back on this time as a generation’s learning experience. Younger generations will be less unhappy with us when they realize they can make a fortune in what’s now being called the longevity economy.
Being a crusty old guy – or as I prefer to say, a “crusty old fart” – becoming an aging, older, senior Boomer is part of my right of passage this lifetime. The same goes for all of you over 50. Be proud of who you are. You weren’t afraid to grow up during the Cold War Era. You weren’t afraid to march for equality. If you were, then guess what? You’re still here now! Don’t be afraid of this passage. Lean into aging and have as much fun with it as possible. Make it cool. Continue to work to improve things for our younger generations. Be fearless and happy when you die.
In closing this rant, I must add one caution for all of us Boomers. We must never bring back disco, especially the clothes. Thank you.